Sunday, March 20, 2011

Stop the "Start and Park" racers in NASCAR

I have been a fan of racing all my life.  In fact my entire family, besides my wife, are racing fanatics.  My father drove street stock Wissota cars until an accident in Miller, SD caused him to spend 6 months in the hospital.  Later he owned teams and hired drivers for tracks in Huron and Aberdeen, SD.  I remember going to the local dirt track and my mom and I screaming for our favorite drivers.  (Dave Marlowe need not apply).  We all have our favorite drivers and teams.  We even rib each other about how our drivers do during the season.  However, there is one thing that we all hate and want abolished from the land of NASCAR.  That is the ability of teams to start and park.

We had another instance of that in the Nationwide series at Bristol.  The thing here is that the driver didn't want to follow that order.  Jennifer Jo Cobb wanted to race.  She was expecting to try and finish the best that she could in the event.  10 minutes before the start of the race, her owner told her to drive and then come in and park the car.  She disagreed and then her owner said that he would have NASCAR Black flag her because she wasn't following his orders.  So she took her own pit crew, since he didn't bring the team's pit crew and she took the tires that she bought to run this race and left.  He was able to get another driver.  Of course the car made it's first lap at Lap 141 of the race.  Chris Lawson, the relief driver, made a whopping 4 laps in the car.  I applaud Jennifer Jo Cobb for her stance that she was there to race and will race to the best of her ability to win the race.  And it's going to be a black mark on her record because she had enough balls to tell a stupid owner that doesn't have the finances to compete in the Nationwide series that she was there to try and win the race. 

This is stupid.  NASCAR needs to haul this asshole owner into their trailer and have a nice discussion with him and the rest of the start and park owners out there, yes even Joe Nemechek.  They should set the firm rule that if you have 3 start and park races in a season, then you are automatically done racing in that series for the rest of the season, both owner and driver.  If you don't have the financial backing to race an entire race, don't show up.  I am tired of having race teams that know they won't be finishing the race.  They run 20 laps, take the car to the hauler, pack it away and wait until the race is over and get out of the track immediately.  There are other levels for these owners to have cars and actually race for the victory.  Look at the Late Model, ARCA, or Featherlite Series.  The Top 3 divisions of NASCAR look amateurish when these things happen on a weekly basis.  And I'm tired of caring about things that look like an amateur circus, even though I have 30 years of fandom to look back upon.


R.J. said...

I read about this earlier this evening and it makes me sick. Jennifer Jo Cobb showed a lot of guts by standing up for her principles. She's also too talented of a racer to be a "start and park" driver. I expect that from the likes of Dave Blaney or other drivers just drawing a paycheck for NOT racing.

Zebster said...

I too have been a fan since the early 70s, growing up a half hour from 2 tracks; and while I can sympethize with these owners, you're absolutely right. At the very least if a car is going to attempt to run the whole race, they get to qualify ahead of the cars that won't.
Hey Brent, would love to see a blog or two about your memories going to races growing up and, of course, if you go to any in the future.

BJ said...

i personally don't have a problem with start and park drivers and owners. if a team wants to start and park in order to one day race the full race then they should be allowed to do so. no one should be allowed to pick and choose who should be in the based on their intentions. if they are fast enough to make the show then they should be allowed to take the green flag

Anonymous said...

i don't understand why it's there, i remember the cobb race and her statement she bought her own tires, don't they make x amount of dollars for every lap they turn, or is it just a flat fee for showing up and starting?

Brent said...

She makes a flat fee from the owner since it was a start and park car. No bonuses would apply.

The owner would get paid according to the position that the car finished in. And if at the start of the season the owner has a couple of wrecked cars, he starts to feel the financial squeeze. So, he figures that he can get a quick couple of grand easy by having his car run 5 or 10 laps. Come in and park and have NASCAR cut him a check.

dasnake said...

mui posted a comment yesterday thanking the board for the answer, but i guess it got lost in the shuffle, anyway thanks again.
wasn't that a couple days of great racing, glad jimmy didn't get hurt last night, and i sure wish jr. would pick up a race.

Zebster said...

Sorry about that, Snake. It must've gotten lost in the ether, otherwise I would've approved the comment. Please join us a follower on the sidebar, then I think you won't need for us to approve your comments. But thanks for reading us and leaving comments.
Yeah, glad Jimmy wasn't hurt but it was nice to see him have some bad luck. I'm looking forward to someone new winning the title this year. And my 3 fav drivers (4, 43, 9) all finished in the top 10. I am sick of the aero push these cars have though.